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"The thing about FTP, though, is the standard is so simple, and for the vast majority of servers it Just Works. I don't see what needs to change, it's dead simple."
Oddly my experience is different.
I've implemented FTP software, so I appreciate it's simplicity. But in practice I find protocols that span multiple ports to be a bad idea. They cause problems with firewalls and routers, fundamentally requiring very ugly stateful application level gateways to work. Plain FTP usually fails to servers without "passive mode" hacks. Even then it fails between most normal peers. The default ASCII transfer modes can easily cause corruption and doesn't serve much purpose these days.
SFTP is perhaps too complex (being an extension of SSH and all), but network-wise for the most part it just works on all networks that don't have it blocked. It can easily be run behind a NAT on any port one wishes. Obviously it's more secure too.
For me, rsync and sftp more than make up any void left by FTP. Edited 2012-04-12 15:43 UTC
So true. Just pray you never have to deal with FTPS, which, despite sharing a similar acronym to SFTP is competely different and is a total car crash. It's basically FTP over SSL, which is FTP, with all its warts, plus SSL grafted on. It comes in implicit and explicit varieties that change the way the ports are allocated (ala passive and active FTP) and it is a bitch to configure a firewall to allow is as well as regular FTP.